πŸ– The whale that nearly drowned The Donald – POLITICO

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As the night of gambling at the Palazzo wound up at sunrise, Low handed the Then, in May, a Singapore newspaper, citing inside sources, named Hong.


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The Asian whale, who favoured baccarat in a private gaming room and a Chinese-American veteran of casino management from Atlantic City.


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Singapore court orders businessman to pay his $2m Marina Bay Sands marker; online sports bookie sentenced; Vietnamese love Cambodia.


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He was also one of the world's top five gamblers, a β€œwhale” in casino left before a $6 million check drawn from a Singapore bank had cleared.


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Rival Singapore casino Resorts World Sentosa has an invitation-only high-roller hotel with butler service in all its suites and four private villas.


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Rival Singapore casino Resorts World Sentosa has an invitation-only high-roller hotel with butler service in all its suites and four private villas.


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He was also one of the world's top five gamblers, a β€œwhale” in casino left before a $6 million check drawn from a Singapore bank had cleared.


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As the night of gambling at the Palazzo wound up at sunrise, Low handed the Then, in May, a Singapore newspaper, citing inside sources, named Hong.


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Singapore court orders businessman to pay his $2m Marina Bay Sands marker; online sports bookie sentenced; Vietnamese love Cambodia.


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The gambling industry's titans are locked in a battle for the high-roller who now include the Singapore-based casino group Genting, which.


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But that's if Star gets it right. Echo is confident that it can offer a similarly impressive high roller experience as Crown's by coupling Star with Echo's Queensland casinos, the soon-to-be upgraded Jupiters sites on the Gold Coast and in Townsville, as well as the Treasury in Brisbane. They appear to be daring him to launch a full takeover bid, something that could be in the offing once Packer offloads his remaining media interests. Few think Packer will bid for Echo, and fewer believe Genting wants to go down that path. While local punters contribute more in terms of casino profits, the high roller market despite its skinny margins and greater risk is growing more strongly, demonstrated by Crown's own figures. So the word plateau, in terms of Asia, is not in our vocabulary. Networking is also the name of the high roller game across Asia, and Packer's interest in Macau casinos in partnership with Hong Kong-based tycoon Lawrence Ho provides a handy conduit for introducing more high rollers to his plush Australian salons. But Star holds the only casino licence in NSW and would need to come on board by agreeing to a hybrid arrangement that split its facilities between its current site and Barangaroo. At the moment, its tie-up with the Ho Group demands exclusivity in Asia and, as one analyst noted: ''Who would want to rock that boat? At its epicentre is China's Macau, the only city in a country of more than 1 billion people permitted to run casinos and the site of several billion-dollar developments. No one would dare suggest that the prevailing obstacles are insurmountable for the Packer camp, which has assembled an impressive roll call of political heavyweights among its ranks, presumably to help navigate its way through choppy waters. Newcomer Singapore is fast establishing itself, too, as a key high roller destination. O'Farrell, unimpressed by a recent sexual harassment scandal at Star that embroiled his government and led to the downfall of the casino's former managing director, has appeared to revel a little in Star's discomfort by publicly praising Packer as a ''shrewd and successful businessman'', while acknowledging that the Packer push ''is starting to look like a political campaign''. Apart from a looming public backlash, the snag is that Packer wants the hotel to include exclusive gaming salons for high rollers, complementing Crown's top-shelf offering in Melbourne and Perth. Packer's remedy of a united front also calls for better support from governments to maintain tax and other advantages, which could be extended to faster visa and customs clearances for high rollers to match the efficiency of Singapore. In the latest corporate reporting period, revenues from local gaming in Melbourne grew by 5 per cent while those from its VIP program were 34 per cent stronger, albeit from a lower base. The Packer camp argues that its agitation is on behalf of all Echo shareholders, who now include the Singapore-based casino group Genting, which has built a 4. Their business is becoming increasingly vital as growth in the domestic gaming market tails off. At its core is James Packer's ambition to retain his dominance over VIP gaming in Australia by having a key say in Sydney's newly rejuvenated casino business. License this article.{/INSERTKEYS}{/PARAGRAPH} Packer's response has been fierce and multi-pronged, with Crown taking a 10 per cent stake in Star's owner, Echo Entertainment, and applying to regulatory authorities to be allowed to move to the takeover threshold of 20 per cent. Tourism chiefs recognise the potential should this trend be replicated in Sydney, drawing ever greater numbers of big spenders willingly pumping money into the local economy. Often demanding, sometimes quirky and superstitious, they attract the very best and attentive service, and enjoy the trappings of the high life, often gratis: six-star luxury accommodation, fine dining, live shows, top-brand shopping. But the announcement was accompanied by a downgrade in its profit outlook, further fodder for its critics. They include the former federal government minister Mark Arbib and former ALP national secretary Karl Bittar, as well as the former Liberal senator and federal communications minister Helen Coonan, a Crown director. As for Packer's push for new blood in the Echo boardroom, he adds: ''Why on earth would you agree to put a competitor on your board? That reality, and the intensifying competition for their business, lies at the centre of a stoush over control of Sydney's Star casino, one that has several elements, both commercial and political, and which is flavoured also by a hint of hoary Melbourne-Sydney rivalry. Analysts are hardly unanimous in their outlook. Standing steadfast, too, has been Perpetual Investments, with 8 per cent, which has backed Echo's board in rebuffing the Packer demands. Wagers of several hundred thousand dollars are not uncommon. Following the money whale. The widespread assumption is that - notwithstanding the Chinese economy's recent slowing - the premium gambling pie has years of expansion ahead, and the chairman of Marina Bay's Las Vegas-based parent company, the US billionaire Sheldon Adelson, identifies a growing new class of gambler. But Star doesn't need Packer to do that. Packer's pitch has been for a united Australian front in the quest to wrest bigger numbers of the region's high rollers, and he has wowed tourism chiefs, as well as New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell, with a proposal for a storey luxury hotel on public land on Sydney Harbour known as Barangaroo, on the western flank of the historic Rocks. {PARAGRAPH}{INSERTKEYS}THEY are the so-called ''whales'', fabulously rich gamblers who are jetted into town to be pampered and cosseted by their eager hosts. Predominantly ethnic Chinese, their money also buys privacy, discretion and exclusivity. It's a world, too, that is fast expanding, as China's exploding wealth and the rising prosperity of other emerging nations - India, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, for example - spawn a new and vast generation of high rollers. But the breadth of competition is likely to demand more creative ways of luring gamblers farther south than Singapore, a fact that could affect the sort of inducements offered to ''whales'' by local operators, such as the extent of ''loss rebates'', where casinos cover a portion of a high roller's losses. Sure, you could tackle that market through some joint venture or tie-up with Crown, so in that sense Packer is absolutely right. Simultaneously, the Packer camp has waged a public relations war against Echo over the latter's lacklustre recent performance, to the point of forcing out its chairman while pushing for its own boardroom appointee, the man whose aggressive s urban makeover gave Melbourne its gaming mecca to begin with, former premier Jeff Kennett. But another gaming expert based overseas thinks otherwise, wondering if Packer might, in fact, prefer to be the big fish in the smaller pond. Baccarat is a favourite game. He says the Packer plan has merit and would add to the harbour precinct's ''tourism offering''. While Packer's ultimate objective is clear - gaining access to Star's licence - he faces stern resistance, namely from an Echo board that accuses him of seeking control of the company on the cheap, by denying a premium to its shareholders. The longer game plan could be his positioning for Crown's own casino licence in NSW when Star's exclusivity expires in Its licence renewal process starts two years earlier. The Sydney Morning Herald. There are plenty who see Crown's management expertise as vital in finally raising Star, which has long been anchored in a state steeped in the grind culture of RSL and sporting club pokies, to the high roller firmament. They can win or drop millions of dollars at the gaming table during a single visit. We sometimes get that in a few days, a week or two weeks. But some ponder a deal that would see some of Crown's interests in Macau passed to Genting, providing Packer with the financial muscle to swallow Echo - and Star. Star's ''fate'', meanwhile, may not be determined for some time, with no guarantee that a takeover bid will materialise to unlock the stalemate. But intensifying competition for VIP punters has not just triggered a casino ''arms race'' in Australia, where operators have been spending billions of dollars melding a variety of lavish entertainments with their gaming offers, but one that is region-wide. It's as simple as that. The boss of the Tourism and Transport Forum, John Lee, sees the Barangaroo hotel-cum-casino development as upping the ante in Sydney's claim for higher tourist numbers, just as Singapore's so-called ''integrated resorts'' have pulled a flood of new visitors to the city-state.